Senior right-hander Matt Goebel tossed 6.0 scoreless innings as Tulane blanked Nicholls State, 5-0, Tuesday at Zephyr Field.
March 27, 2007
METAIRIE, La. - Right-handers Matt Goebel, Preston Claiborne and Taylor Rogers combined to keep the Colonels off the scoreboard, and sophomore third baseman Seth Henry hit a two-run homer to blow open a close contest as the Tulane University baseball team defeated Nicholls State, 5-0, Tuesday evening at Zephyr Field.
Goebel (4-1) gave the Green Wave a solid 6.0-inning start, Claiborne allowed just one single in the seventh and eighth innings combined, and Rogers was perfect in a scoreless ninth. The Green Wave (20-7) posted their sixth shutout in the last nine games and ran their streak of consecutive innings without allowing an earned run to 30. Nicholls State, meanwhile, falls to 4-22.
"I wasn't sharp early on, but I felt like I actually got into more of a rhythm as the game went on," Goebel said. "Any time you keep your team in the game until the offense gets going, that's what you're trying to do as a pitcher.
"All of our pitchers throughout the year have been stepping up. We've had guys out of the bullpen and those in starting roles going out and competing every day. When you do that and have the kind of quality arms that we do, good things are going to happen."
The Green Wave were out-hit, 9-7, but it was Henry who had the big blow that broke the Colonels' back. Leading 3-0 going into the bottom of the eighth, sophomore right fielder Warren McFadden was plunked to open the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore catcher Jared Dyer.
Henry, who failed to get a sacrifice bunt down in the sixth, stepped to the plate and hammered a first-pitch offering from NSU reliever Lance Dupuis and sent it over the wall in the left-field alley to account for the game's final run. He also did his part in the field by tallying three assists and robbed extra bases twice by gloving a couple of hot shots down the third-base line.
"I'm just going out there trying to make plays," Henry said. "In that last at-bat, I was still a little upset that I didn't get that bunt down so I kind of got to take a little anger out on my swing."
The story of the game, however, belonged to the pitching staff. Goebel faced just two more then the minimum over the first four innings and was able to pitch his way out of a two-out, two-in-scoring-position jam in the fifth. Goebel got the first two batters out to start the sixth, but the shutout nearly evaporated as the next three Colonel hitters all posted singles.
NSU designated hitter Brett Hoeflich started the rally with an infield single to third, right fielder A.J. DeLaneuville followed with a base hit through the left side of the infield and left fielder Brett Cook hit what initially looked like an RBI-single to shallow right.
The ball fell safely in front of McFadden, but the preseason All-American quickly corralled the baseball and fired a bullet to the plate where Dyer applied a perfect tag on Hoeflich as he attempted to score from 180 feet away.
From there, Tulane handed the ball to Claiborne who gave up a single in the seventh and a walk in the eighth, and Rogers retired the only three batters he faced in the ninth to clinch the shutout win.
Goebel and the staff got an early cushion as the Green Wave cashed in on a leadoff double, two walks and a pair of balks to take a 2-0 advantage in the second. One inning later, junior shortstop Cat Everett led off with a walk, advanced the bases when junior second baseman Brad Emaus was plunked and senior first baseman Tim Guidry laid down a sacrifice bunt. McFadden then hit a slow grounder to short to bring Everett home and the score remained 3-0 until Henry's bomb in the eighth.
The Colonels used four pitchers on the day, but starter John Beauchamp (0-2) was tagged with the loss after giving up three runs on one hit while walking three, hitting three and balking twice in 2.0 innings of work. Justin Breaux and Jakop Dwaraczyk kept Tulane off the board from the third through sixth innings, and Dupuis allowed two more runs in three hits in the seventh and eighth frames.
The Green Wave return to action on Friday, March 30, when they open a three-game series against Conference USA foe East Carolina at 6:30 p.m. at Zephyr Field. For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE. You can also purchase tickets on game day at the Zephyr Field Ticket Office, which is located on the third-base side of stadium and opens approximately two hours before first pitch for each Tulane home game.